DevExpress Universal v16.2 released

From the myriad blog posts you’ve seen here on our Community Site recently, all labeled “Coming Soon in v16.2”, I’m sure you’ve been anticipating our second major release of the year, knowing that it is just around the corner. Well, wait no more: the teams completed their testing of the build and it was published to the Download Center early this morning, my time. If you are an active customer – er, that is, you have an active subscription, I’m not commenting on your level of exercise! – you can go now to our Download Center, log in, and download the latest and greatest.

universal-16.2-awards-facebookFor what’s new in this release, please go to this page and read all about the enhancements we’ve provided.

For every major release, no matter how hard we try, the new features and enhancements are bound to cause a few breaking changes. We do make an effort to minimize their number and impact, but there will be some. (I wrote about this last time for the v16.1 release.) You can read about the v16.2 breaking changes here. As it happens that new site is now fully interactive: you can select to see the breaking changes for a particular version, or the known issues and the resolved issues. You can even elect to view what changes are applicable when upgrading from a previous version.

Part of the process of releasing a major version like this involves many people doing many jobs. Development, documentation, blogs, marketing, and so on. One of these jobs is writing the Press Release, and I was interested to learn in the one that’s just about to go out that, over the past 4 years, DevExpress has won 38 first place Visual Studio Magazine Readers’ Choice awards. Those are awards that are based on votes from the readers of VSM, and we are really grateful to the people who through their development work have decided that DevExpress products are so good, they’re worth voting for. Thank you. We hope that what we have in v16.2 (and what we are preparing for v17.1) is going to validate that trust in and appeal of our products.

DevExpress MVVM for WPF - New Module Injection Framework Coming Soon in v16.2

Wait, what? What’s a Module Injection Framework – or MIF – and how is it used? The mile-high overview is that a MIF makes it easier to develop, test, maintain, and deploy applications built with loosely-coupled modules. Such a modular application is one that is divided up into a set of functional units, which are independent from each other. Although viewed as separate, these modules can, if needed, communicate with each other through well-defined contracts that you define. This separation of concerns means that modules can be developed and tested independently of each other.

1. Common Concepts

Using MIF terminology, a module is a set of Views and ViewModels (which can in turn contain submodules) that are injected into regions. A region is merely a placeholder in the application's UI.

MVVM MIF regions and modules

Using the DevExpress MIF, you can create modules and register them via the ModuleManager:

    regionName: "RegionA", 
    module: new Module(
        key: "Module1", 
        viewModelFactory: () => new Module1ViewModel(), 
        viewType: typeof(Module1View)

A region is a control that is marked by an attached property:

<TabControl dxmvvm:UIRegion.Region="RegionA" .../>

Modules are injected to regions when you call the Inject() method:

ModuleManager.Inject(regionName: "RegionA", key: "Module1");

2. Navigation

You can perform navigation tasks anywhere/anywhen in your application, only knowing the key of the module and the name of the target region:

ModuleManager.Navigate(regionName: "RegionA", key: "Module1")

You can also define navigation logic globally. For example, suppose you have two regions in your app: a navigation region and a document region, such as in the image previously shown. An end-user uses the navigation control in its region to navigate to a document, and this is then shown in the document region (which could be a TabControl, for example).

With MIF, you can say:

“When a module in the navigation region becomes active – activate the corresponding module in the document region.”

And also:

“When a document in the document region becomes active – activate the corresponding module in the navigation region.”

ModuleManager.GetEvents(regionName: "NavigationRegion").Navigation += OnNavigationRegionNavigation;

void OnNavigationRegionNavigation(object sender, NavigationEventArgs e) {
    ModuleManager.Navigate(regionName: "DocumentsRegion", key: ((MyNavigationViewModel)e.ViewModel).DocumentKey);


ModuleManager.GetEvents(regionName: "DocumentsRegion").Navigation += OnDocumentsRegionNavigation;

void OnDocumentsRegionNavigation(object sender, NavigationEventArgs e) {
    ModuleManager.Navigate(regionName: "NavigationRegion", key: ((MyDocumentViewModel)e.ViewModel).NavigationKey);

3. Tests

MIF makes it really easy for you to write unit tests for your navigation logic.

ModuleManager.Navigate(regionName: "NavigationRegion", key: "NavigationItem1");
Assert.AreEqual("Document1", ModuleManager.GetRegion(regionName: "DocumentsRegion").SelectedKey);

ModuleManager.Navigate(regionName: "DocumentsRegion", key: "Document2");
Assert.AreEqual("NavigationItem2", ModuleManager.GetRegion(regionName: "NavigationRegion").SelectedKey);

4. Save and Restore Application State

Like it or not, our users expect our applications to save its state and to restore it when restarted. There are several types of state an application is expected to manage in this manner:

  • The state of visual controls. Examples are, the selected grouping and column order of a GridControl, or the position of panels in a DockLayoutManager.
  • Dynamically injected modules, which can be automatically injected on startup. One example of this are the open tabs in a browser.
  • The state of particular View Models.

The DevExpress MIF refers to the first type of state as visual state. The second and third types are grouped into logical state.

The ModuleManager.Save() method allows you to query the current application state.

void Save(string regionName, out string logicalState, out string visualState); 

The ModuleManager.Restore() method restores the saved application state when called.

bool Restore(string logicalState, string visualState); 

5. MVVM MIF Template

To get you started, we’ve added a new project template in our Template Gallery. It generates a simple MIF application.

MVVM MIF app template

Are you using our MVVM with our WPF controls? What do you think of this new feature? Do you think you’ll be trying out this new MIF? Please let us know either below or by emailing us at

WinForms and WPF Spreadsheet Control – Exciting New Features Coming Soon in v16.2

Microsoft Excel: ubiquitous, powerful, and familiar. Given its prevalence and breadth of functionality, there’ll always be a new feature to add to the DevExpress WinForms and WPF Spreadsheet control and for v16.2 it seems our dev team have gone above and beyond. Even so, I’m going to guess that the first feature I will introduce will have you installing the beta without hesitation.

Two-Way Data Binding

With this release, you can now bind a worksheet or specific range of cells to a standard data source. And that binding works both ways: for both reading and updating of data. While that sinks in, let me point out a few benefits. Last time, in v16.1, we added integrated cell editors. Suddenly you could create “forms” inside your spreadsheets and within your app. Data Entry forms, for example. Your users are up to speed with the whole spreadsheet UX (user experience), so designing forms in that familiar environment makes sense. And now, the data they enter can be read from and stored in your database, not just in the spreadsheet. It becomes shared. If you like, the spreadsheet is no longer an island, but is a gateway to the data you are already storing and processing.

We’ve gone even further: A cell range inside an open spreadsheet in the control can also be used as a data source for any DevExpress or third-party data-aware control (so the Data Grid, Charts, etc) in your app. All data-related modifications affecting the worksheet are immediately propagated to bound controls and changes made within external controls are immediately reflected in the worksheet. The Spreadsheet control and its documents become highly integrated in your app.

Another example before I move on: invoicing. This involves gathering data, often row-oriented data with summation, discounts and the like. That data is important, so much be saved in the database. Then there’s the need to generate the invoice as a report to be sent out. Which leads to…

Print Titles

The v16.2 DevExpress Spreadsheet control allows you to print titles for documents. If the worksheet is large enough to spread across two or more pages in the printed report, the titles (row and/or column headings) can be repeated on subsequent pages.

Print titles in WinForms and WPF Spreadsheet Controls

New Formatting Rule Dialog

The Spreadsheet control in v16.2 ships with a new Formatting Rule dialog. This dialog helps end-users customize the appearance of cells and by using conditional formatting.

Format Condition Dialog in WinForms and WPF Spreadsheet Controls

XLSX/XLSM File Encryption

Finally, in v16.2 we’ve added the ability to encrypt the spreadsheets created by the Spreadsheet Control. You can encrypt documents using either standard or agile XLSX/XLSM encryption.

Encryption in WinForms and WPF Spreadsheet Controls

Using Visual Studio 2017 RC with DevExpress: some caution needed

As I posted yesterday, the newly published DevExpress Universal v16.1.8 supports the Release Candidate for Visual Studio 2017. VS2017 RC is a pretty stable release; however, you should be careful: this is still a beta and you may encounter issues as you experiment with it together with our controls, frameworks, and tools.

CAUTION SPEED BUMPAs a brief example, here’s an issue that’s simple to appreciate: VS2017 RC does not include an offline help viewer
VS2017 RC Support: The IDE doesn't include an offline Help Viewer, CHM and PDF options are available as offline documentation

Apart from this one, these are the issues we’ve identified so far (and be aware that these issues only occur with the VS2017 RC build, earlier IDE versions are fine). Some of them have been reported to Microsoft, and with some of them we’re investigating various workarounds.

LINQ to SQL related issues:

The Project Wizard's "Generate Sample Data" functionality requires LINQ to SQL components to generate data context from DBML data model. Visual Studio 2017 installation doesn't enable the necessary modules by default:
VS2017 RC Support: ASP.NET WebForms/MVC Project Wizard - "Generate Sample Data" option on the "Choose Layout" tab is disabled

The LINQ to SQL option in the WinForms and WPF Data Source Configuration Wizards requires the corresponding Visual Studio modules, which are not installed by default:
VS2017 RC Support: Availability of "LINQ to SQL" option in WinForms and WPF Data Source Configuration Wizards depends on Visual Studio configuration


Because of changes in the IVsProject.AddItem method implementation in VS 2017, a null reference exception is thrown in the DevExtreme design dll:
VS2017 RC Support: "Multi-Channel Application" template - NullReferenceException is thrown during project generation

There seems to have been a change in the folder structure in VS2017 RC, which causes compile errors. We need more time to investigate:  
VS2017 RC Support: "WCF OData Service" template - compile errors in generated projects


XPO uses Visual Studio's Modeling SDK as the basis for the UML editor, but this is not yet shipped as part of VS2017 RC:
VS2017 RC Support: Persistent class visual designer is not available


The Model Editor does not load at first; the “fix” at the moment is to just try again:
VS2017 RC Support: Model Editor does not load on first attempt


Several issues here. We need more time to investigate.

VS2017 RC Support: "g2x2" template produces incorrect results

VS2017 RC Support: "Add Parameter" refactoring incorrectly resolves argument type

VS2017 RC Support: Test Runner doesn't run xUnit tests in a .NET core app

VS2017 RC Support: Test Runner doesn't run unit tests created with Visual Studio


Not particularly associated with VS2017 RC per se, but instead to do with UAP (Universal APP Platform) 5.2.2. Something to do with non-generic collections, perhaps? Anyway, it’s been reported to Microsoft:
VS2017 RC Support: BadImageFormatException is thrown in visual designer if XAML contains certain DevExpress controls


Of course, if you do run into any other issues with VS2017 RC, please contact our support team. They’ll be happy to investigate and help.

DevExpress Universal v16.1.8 supports Visual Studio 2017 RC

Earlier this morning we released v16.1.8 of DevExpress Universal. Normally such a minor release would not necessitate a blog post – after all, minor releases are about bug fixes and performance enhancements and not by definition about new features – but this time we wanted to highlight some fresh functionality that coincides with an important announcement by Microsoft at their Connect(); conference in New York.

That announcement? Microsoft have released the Release Candidate of Visual Studio 2017. VS2017 has numerous new features and enhancements, too many to detail here, but one of them is kind of important from our viewpoint: they’ve changed the installation procedure for not only Visual Studio itself (you can install only what you want – biggest change: no need to install .NET support if you’re not developing for that run-time), but also of external components, libraries and plug-ins as well. To help you test out this new IDE with your favorite component and tools library, we’ve added VS2017 RC support to our installer.

So, hurry over to the Download Center, download DevExpress Universal 16.1.8, install into VS2017 RC, and enjoy!

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